Monday, August 15, 2011

The Wonderful Annoy-a-tron.

So last week, my coworker Sherry came back from a two-week vacation. Before that, my husband had ordered a little device from ThinkGeek called ‘The Annoy-a-Tron’. Now ThinkGeek has a blinding array of wonderful items to make your friends, family and coworkers insane with, but this simple $12 item was just what was needed to turn someone who likes order into a madwoman.

This little device makes noises. You have a choice of six noises on this particular model: a tiny little beep, a doorbell, a cricket, a high-pitched beep only I could hear (maybe bats and dolphins and dogs too), and another high-pitched beep that everyone could hear. There’s a little option on the slider where you can choose random, and it will play them all.

This clever little device (which looks much like some sort of surveillance device) has a little magnet on it so you can just plink it onto the nearest metal office furniture, make sure your volume is set at an optimal level, and let it do its work.

So, that Monday, as soon as my coworker stepped out, I took the little Annoy-a-Tron, and put it up on the fluorescent light ballast behind her desk, facing away towards the wall. This made the sound bounce all over the office. I set it to random at first, and then went back into my office. About five minutes went by when I heard the doorbell from my office and it was REALLY LOUD. So I went back in, took it down and adjusted the volume, and stuck it back up there.

My coworker came back and I sat in my office wringing my hands with a malevolent grin on my face. But nothing happened. It was really irritating. Lucky for me, she had to run out again, so I rushed in to see if I’d accidentally turned it off. It was on, but the solder weld on the battery casing had popped loose, probably from the heat of the ballast. I had to hastily pin it down with a binder clip, checked the volume and put it back up there. Little did I know, I’d set it to the first faint beep... but it turns out that it was enough.

For the first hour, she was so busy she didn’t notice, we even went in there a few times to confer, and heard it go off, but she didn’t notice. We (my other co-worker and I) could hardly keep a straight face. It would go off about every five to eight minutes. But then later on that afternoon, after my other coworker left and it got quieter in the office, I heard: “What the hell *is* that? It’s driving me crazy!” Then I heard that same exclamation like six more times. Then, I heard her test the smoke-detector in her office. Biting back the snickers was almost impossible. You have to understand that Sherry is a student of order... something she cannot fix or prepare for would make her nuts, and that beep made her insane within the first hour of actually hearing it.

But because my other coworker had left, I didn’t want to tell Sherry about the prank yet. I figured we’d *both* share in the delight of her reaction. I also figured she wasn’t going to stay at work much longer (which, little did I know, she did anyway to try and figure out where the source of the beep was. She moved around her office for half an hour, listening). I went home giggling, and then promptly forgot about it.

The next morning, I came in, and she had the back door of her office closed (which is a door to our little laboratory). Again, I’d forgotten about the prank, and as soon as I came in there she was, holding some grey box with random equipment in it, looking visibly frazzled. “I’m keeping this door shut because I’ve been moving equipment out of the office one at a time. Every time I hear that damned beep, I know the beeping thing is still in here, but if I move it out there and it’s quiet for a while, then I’ll know the last one I brought out there is the culprit!” she declares to me as soon as I come in. Of course immediately, I felt really bad! I look in the lab, and on the floor, she had this huge pile of electronics in the lab she’d been carrying out one piece at a time every five to eight minutes all morning. While I was assessing this, she was talking about how she thought the source might be in this area, or that area, because it sounded like it was coming from here...

So, I had a moral obligation to reveal its location because it was making her nuts. When I told her it was a prank, she told me to F.O. and called me a dork, both half-laughing, half-annoyed. It was hilarious. To see someone who like me, is a control freak, have to be exposed to something so completely out of her power to stop; it was tragic and side-splitting all at once. She said she was even getting paranoid and thinking she was under surveillance or something. I’m sure she will exact retribution on me soon enough. She’s probably biding her time until I get comfortable.

Anyway... BEST. PRANK. EVER. So if you want to slowly drive a coworker insane, I recommend the Annoy-a-Tron. We got the 2.0 version. They also have other devices both my husband and I have been eyeballing for future wickedness.

The Evil-tron is looking pretty appealing.  Whispers and creaking. Muah-ha!
Just my style, stealthy and evil.

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